I am often contacted or asked about Dynamics NAV freelancing and contracting, it can look very inviting financially to someone that might be feeling frustrated with their current position, feeling undervalued or looking to move on.
Hold that Thought
My advice might seem strange but I will encourage anyone to stop and think, write down a plan, deciding what they really want, “where they are now and where they would like to be”, take a realistic look at the steps required to get there and the time-frame.
Then when they are better prepared the first step is to talk to their existing employer first, discuss how they are feeling and if the company can provide the framework to achieve the goals they have set out, the company could think that they are “happy and settled” in their current role, the end goals might suit the company’s planning and future plans, thus opening up other avenues for discussion, it is far better to try to resolve any differences and work in a settled framework than start out contracting.
Agency or Direct
Most companies will have recruitment companies they work with, so getting your CV up to date and published is a first step, keep the CV down to three pages maximum, the first page should have bullet points with your main strengths, we will look at realistic rates in the next section, but remember agencies will add between fifty to one hundred pounds a day to your rate.
Once you CV feeds down to the agencies you might get a few phone calls, beware some of these could be fishing for information and not an offer to put your CV to a client, as I rule I will not discuss an agency I am working through and will never discuss the reseller or end client.
If you know of a company that might be looking for a resource and before you put your CV out to the agencies, contact them direct with a copy of your CV, if they have had your CV from an agency then they are unlikely to take you on directly.
Another way of letting people know what you are doing is the social media website, LinkedIn, it takes a while to get setup, but you can link to companies and people you have worked with, I have had a few messages asking if I am looking for a contract.
So what is a realistic rate for a Dynamics NAV contractor?
Let us have a look and see what IT Job Watch is saying, at the time of writing for a Dynamics NAV contractor the average rate is £345, this will be different for a Project Manager, Consultant and Developer.
If you are looking for your first contract then you may have to come in at a lower point to secure a contract, anything from £275 – £450 depending on your skill set.
If you are working through an agency remember that they will be adding on £50 – £100 a day to your rate, if the project end client is retail then it is possible that they are paying a lower rate than a financial services company, all these factors will impact on who they take on.
Is it worth it?
There are a number of variables to consider, four weeks holiday, Bank Holidays, Sickness and out of contract downtime, a few years back I finished a contract in mid-November it was February before I was working again, so my income that year was hit.
Let us look at a possible average:
- 365 – 52 weekends = 261
- 20 days of unpaid vacation = 241
- 9 unpaid days public holidays = 232
- 10 days unpaid out of contract or unplanned absence = 222
- Make the average salary £300 per day, 222 contract days = £66,600.
- Divide this by the 261 employee paid working days = £255.17 a day as a contractor.
The cost of employing someone excluding company overheads, basic salary, employment taxes and benefits are typically in the 1.25 to 1.4 times base salary rate, employing a contractor negates these,and equates to employing someone on a salary at around £47K.
Pro’s and Con’s
- The cost of employing a contractor is not that much more than an employee
- A contractor can be employed at short notice, and often works faster and better
- Contractor can be let go at short notice or when the contract ends without penalty
- No hand holding should be required the contractor will hit the ground running
- Project costs can be budgeted more tightly
- Agency fee should be smaller than taking an employee
- Contracting opens up new contacts and channels, with more freedom
- Project work is more intense, diverse and varied
- Less non-productive hours, the employer wants to maximise the use of a contractor
- More respect from other members of the employers Dynamics NAV team
- No team building or social events to attend
- Expenses can be claimed in real time, both chargeable and non-chargeable
- Short term projects planning as they cannot plan for a contractor
- Slightly higher project cost, often negated by higher production
- End Client’s might not agree to the use of contractor
- End Client might find out that the project resource is contracting
- Endless calls from the agencies
- Poor candidates from the agencies (both contract and permie)
- Long term support, not having quick contractors feedback
- Unpaid holidays, sickness and bank holidays
- No longer term job security as a contract can be ended at short notice
- Could be working for long periods away from home
- Dealing with some agencies is harder than expected
- Self-employment can affect access to other financial services
I can not say if moving into contracting would be a good or bad thing, the employee needs to consider more than the financial gains, do they have a family or need to be local a lot of the time, do they have health issues that could affect working away.
Ask yourself as a contractor could I stand on my own skills, could I hit the ground running, am I prepared to work away or travel, are my skills and experience at a level that a reseller or end user would expect from a contractor, most important would I be happy contracting.